Yes, I’m talking to you, speed demon, whipping down our streets at 28 mph. Sure, other cars are passing you like you’re standing still, but now all NYC streets will be subject to a new law initiated by Mayor de Blasio and approved last week by state lawmakers that lowers the city speed limit from 30 to 25 mph, if Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs it as expected.
As a lifetime New Yorker, I’ve flipped the bird to more speeding lunatics than I can count on the other nine fingers, as they recklessly race down our streets to make a light and burn rubber turning the corner (why do they always seem to have Jersey plates?). I’m absolutely in favor of anything that lessens the danger of New Yorkers being run down by these maniacs.
That said, is 25 mph a realistic limit for every city street? For example, does the mayor truly expect to see drivers crawling down Brooklyn’s expansive Ocean Parkway at that turtle’s pace? As a Brooklyn guy, de Blasio must know that’s a bit unrealistic. So what can we really expect?
More money in the city’s coffers, that’s what! The city has been using new speed cameras to nab drivers exceeding the limit (imagine when it officially drops to 25), and police have been issuing jaywalking tickets at a record pace.
The mayor seems quite earnest about this push for pedestrian safety, and that’s commendable.
From the start of his administration, de Blasio emphasized his Vision Zero proposal designed to bring safety to our streets. Then he was videoed jaywalking in Brooklyn and his SUV was taped speeding and ignoring stop signs soon after he announced his grand plan.
But that’s old news, and with this latest success, the mayor has accelerated his quest to reduce the number of city pedestrian fatalities (176 in 2013) “literally to zero” in 10 years.
Of course, by now de Blasio has learned that the best way to lead is by example.
So the next time our habitually tardy mayor is late for an appointment and tells his driver to step on it, I’m sure he’ll catch himself and chuckle. “Did I say gun it? Of course, I meant slow down.”
Yep, I’m absolutely certain of that.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.